Beginner Skates- The most important equipment a skater will purchase is their skates. Starting out you can get away with a pair for less than $100. Even if you are just starting out with lessons I suggest you purchase a pair of figure skates. While most rinks will rent skates or even offer them free to students who register for classes, these skates often have dull blades and poor support. If you are not going to buy skates you should at least ask for a sharp pair when picking up rental skates. If you start out with dull skates you will be sliding sideways. This will make it very frustrating to skate. This frustration may lead you to deciding you don't like skating.
Intermediate Skates - When you begin spinning and jumping you will want to purchase better skates. At this point boots and blades are sold separately. You will want sturdy boots. Sturdy figure skating boots will support your jumps and help prevent injury. You can expect to pay form $200-$500 for a good intermediate pair of skates with blades.
Advanced Competitive Skates - The advanced figure skater will need a figure skating boot that will suppor high impact jumps. Advanced figure skating jumps require good ankle support. You will want sturdy boots. Sturdy figure skating boots will support your jumps and help prevent injury. You can expect to pay form $800-$1,400 for a good advanced pair of skates with blades. Check out these brands of competitive figure skates.
A good combination of boot and blade for intermediate skaters would be the Riedell Star series boot (bronze, silver of Gold) with the Corrination Ace blade. The Medallion series boots will also work if you are on a budget. In my opinion boots and blades are not the place to skimp. Skip the Zuca bag or the light up blade guards and get the better boots and blades. Good boots will not only help with jumping, the will help prevent injury.
Some rinks and figure skating clubs offer used skates. This can sometimes be a great way to get expensive skates at a discount. Just be careful that the skates are not overly broken in. Used skates may be almost new if the skater gave up skating soon after purchasing the skates. Used figure skates can also be worn out and offer little support if they had been used by and intermediate to advanced skater for a lon period. Worn boots will be easy to bend at the top of the boot.
The blades should be mounted on the boot by a professional. Since some rinks may be hockey oriented you should be sure that the sports shop has someone knowledgeable in figure skates. Asking a coach where to but your figure skates is usually the best idea. Your coach can even suggest the right boot and blade for your level of ability and what you are currently working on.